Many people are interested in spirituality, the mystical aspects of life. There are two primary choices in this arena, following a religion or going on your own. See why this latter approach we call spiritual exploration is better than joining a religion.
Almost half of the world’s population follows some form of organized religion, and they will tell you they are following the correct spiritual path. Every religious believer thinks their path is the only right path. But, this conclusion is illogical. Every religion is mutually exclusive, so either they are all wrong, or only one is correct. It is least likely only one is right, but which of the 10,000 religions is correct?
But many people don’t believe any organized religion has the correct answers to the spiritual quest. More and more are venturing out on their own to seek other ways to fulfill their spiritual quest.
“Ever since I was young, I was always interested in exploring spirituality. I know that there are many paths to God, there is not just one path.” — Kyan Douglas
What is Spiritual Exploration?
The term spiritual gets confused because people automatically relate it to religion. But spirituality has nothing to do with religion.
Religion is a belief system typically based on mythology and superstition. The belief in myths has nothing to do with our spiritual nature. Everyone has consciousness (Spirit or Soul) regardless of what they believe. We believe the authentic spiritual path uses processes to explore consciousness.
“And this I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against any idea, religion, or government that limits or destroys the individual. This is what I am and what I am about.” — John Steinbeck
So, “we define spiritual exploration as the use of processes for exploring consciousness.”
Here’s how we explain what this approach to spirituality entails.
Defining the Spiritual Path
Spirituality has many meanings depending upon the context. Making things more confusing is a word people use as an adjective in everyday language. So it’s hard for people to know what you mean when you use these words. People use spiritual terms to describe various human conditions. For example, some people say spicy hot food is a spiritual experience.
Let’s break down the way we use these terms.
Spirituality refers to everything involving the Spirit or Soul, the life force or consciousness behind our awareness.
Exploration infers an activity of investigation and examination and searching.
We combine these two terms to explain our processes for the inward quest. The term spiritual exploration honors the tradition of the people who pioneered and transmitted these teachings, and it describes the purpose of these methods and their goal.
How Did We Reach This Conclusion?
First, the cultures pioneering these methods used spiritual vocabulary to describe consciousness exploration; consciousness is synonymous with spirit in most ancient civilizations. They often use terms like spirit and soul when talking about elements we understand as Ego and consciousness.
“The major task of the twentieth century will be to explore the unconscious, to investigate the subsoil of the mind.” — Henri Bergson
Second, we use spiritual exploration to honor these traditions and keep the historical meaning and context intact. It is all about the use of processes, simple as that.
It is a collection of methods for investigating awareness and consciousness. You could call it many things: “awareness research, human potential investigation, the survey of the parameters perception, methods of cognition, or consciousness development processes.”
When people ask, “what is spiritual exploration?” we tell them is using processes to explore the mind. It has nothing to do with religion.
Consciousness Exploration and Development
Investigating and developing your consciousness has nothing to do with the belief in mythology and superstition. These latter elements are the foundation of organized religion. Consciousness development involves processes that unlock the gifts of our minds.
Every person is different, so the approach needs to be individualized and uniquely tailored to fit the individual. We each have different gifts and abilities locked away in our DNA. We don’t need to join a religion; we need the tools to unlock these gifts. We don’t need to have an imaginary friend; we need the tools to open the doors of consciousness.
“Does religion fill a much-needed gap? It is often said that there is a God-shaped gap in the brain which needs to be filled: we have a psychological need for God — imaginary friend, father, big brother, confessor, confidant — and the need has to be satisfied whether God really exists or not. But could it be that God clutters up a gap that we’d be better off filling with something else? Science, perhaps? Art? Human friendship? Humanism? Love of this life in the real world, giving no credence to other lives beyond the grave?” — Richard Dawkins
Thankfully some ancient cultures were more concerned with unlocking the secrets of the mind rather than creating a cash flow system. Many cultures expended considerable time and resources in investigating awareness and consciousness.
Some of these pioneers of awareness used metaphors, analogies, and word pictures to explain their discoveries. And, this is where we find the first use of anthropomorphic beings or gods to describe attributes of powers within the mind. They help us to understand and unlock higher states of consciousness.
We use a blended learning model to teach techniques similar to the approach of other spiritual explorers like Gurdjieff’s strategy. He spent his life investigating practices to develop awareness. We call these safe and effective tools for investigating consciousness “spiritual technologies.”
Anyone can use these techniques if they can follow a process. For example, children as young as two can use the simple two-step beginning mediation. It’s like following the recipe for baking a cake. If you combine the right ingredients in the right way, you get something delicious.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Each of these categories contains several methods that are proven to be safe and effective. People have some common questions about using them. Here’s the list of frequently asked questions.
Frequently Asked Questions
1)Is it possible to use these techniques and still follow my current religious beliefs? Yes. To use these techniques, you follow a process. These methods have nothing to do with religious beliefs. However, your religion may not want you to investigate anything outside its boundaries. Some religions are very protective of their membership. Depending on how integrated they are in the culture, you may need to be careful with whom you share your ideas about forging a unique path.
“My view is that organized religion is a very dangerous tool that’s been misused by a lot of people.” — Stephen King
2) If I want to use them, where should I start? Good question. We have several articles to help you pick the right source, teacher, and method to begin your journey. You can start right now by using a journal. It’s the first tool we recommend. Start writing. Ask yourself some questions about where you are now and where you want to go. Ask yourself about the obstacles you need to overcome.
Here are some more helpful resources:
3) Which of these tools is best for opening my spiritual gifts? Everyone is different. Your gifts are unique, and so are the available options for finding these tools.
4) What are the most common obstacles to using these methods and creating a unique spiritual path? There are three:
1- The most obvious obstacle is getting sidetracked into organized religion. From the picture above, you’ll see that those who do not follow one of the organized religions make up about one-eighth of the world population. Islam is the fastest-growing organized religion. (1) Islam is one of the three Abrahamic religions along with Christianity and Judaism. Some of these religions have harsh penalties for people who venture outside of their beliefs.
2- Harmful thoughts and beliefs. These come from two primary sources, the unhealthy aspects of our personalities/instincts and the cultural narrative. The latter includes the prejudice of the dominant religious paradigm.
3- Psychological barriers. It is hard to live a life without encountering harmful situations. These can leave mental scars that create obstacles to our development.
5) Will the use of these processes help me find my own spirituality? Yes. That is the goal. The objective is to find your personal truth, unique gifts, and path.
6) Is spiritual faith the same as “spiritual exploration?” In a strict sense, no. Faith is a term describing belief in religious dogma. Religions try to reframe the term spiritual and associate it with their ideology.
Exploring your spirituality has nothing to do with religious doctrine, belief, or faith. These are all counterfeits for the authentic spiritual path. A glance at the lives depicted in the most popular religions reveals that the way to find spirituality is by doing it on your own. Jesus rejected Judaism to find enlightenment in the wilderness. Likewise, Buddha found enlightenment in meditation, not by memorizing religious texts.
“What is spiritual exploration?” Now you know it’s all about processes and methods for exploring and developing your potential. It has nothing to do with the belief in an imaginary friend, mythologies, or superstition.
We hope this article provides some food for thought. If you have comments or questions, contact us.
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(1) Data on fastest-growing worldview psichologyanswers.com and the PEW Forum, pewforum.org/2015/04/02/religious-projections-2010-2050/